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Social media is fast becoming the preferred communications tool for the masses. According to Pew Research, 69 percent of all American adults use at least one social media site. This is up from just 5 percent in 2005 and 50 percent in 2011, which means that adoption continues in an upward trend. In the past, information flowed from news organizations or officials to the public, but social media has empowered every individual to easily share information as well. A nearly equal, two-way news dialogue in which individuals play an unprecedented role has emerged.
For those in corporate security, this has created a navigational challenge. There is tremendous value in harnessing the power of this rapid information flow, particularly from first-person sources, to inform appropriate response efforts. But realizing that potential is daunting without the ability to meaningfully monitor the expansive volume of real-time information that is being shared every second of every day.
Filtering through the Noise
Twitter sees more than 500 million new tweets posted per day. Finding and separating the potential alert signals from the noise, identifying the tweet that is relevant from the unnecessary information – the tweets about pets, friends, television shows, pop culture etc. – could make all the difference in your corporate security operations.
Sorting through social media manually is incredibly cumbersome, and even with the best analysts and a fully staffed Global Security Operations Center (GSOC), it still requires significant manpower in a current climate where most organizations are experiencing resource reduction. Relying on keyword searches may result in blind spot vulnerabilities. Bystanders are often the best first indicators of a rising crisis, but what has been identified as a corporate keyword may not be a term of choice for the average social media poster. Warnings of a serious issue could be severely delayed simply due to lexicon choice. Having a robust monitoring tool that cuts through the clutter to detect relevant content is essential for processing the vast data streams into alerts that are manageable and actionable for security teams.
Virtual Feet on the Ground Across the Globe
The corporate security teams of large multi-national organizations as well as smaller companies with staff travelling internationally require high level visibility into global events. Smaller companies are often resource constrained and lack the luxury of time to scour local news reports from multiple locations and stay on top of every breaking event, much less do so proactively and in real-time. Larger teams with broader staff coverage may need to drill down into subset areas or highly specific locations that do not ordinarily generate much attention from mainstream news. Still, the information is out there; according to the social media research firm, We Are Social Ltd., global social media use has increased by 21 percent in just the last 12 months, reaching 2.8 billion users globally. There is a pressing need for information to be both quickly triaged and free from any language barriers if it can be effectively put to use in keeping our organizations safe.
A highly customizable social media solution like Dataminr can help easily identify incidents that might require reaction or response by serving as the corporate security monitoring and alert system. Dataminr removes the burden of proactive searching but is flexible enough to allow customization of focus areas and assignment of urgency thresholds, differentiating the seriousness of a given situation. Translation capabilities have been built into the platform covering 76 languages in order to save corporate security teams vast amounts of time by eliminating the need for manual translations in our increasingly global world.
Protecting People, Property, Products and Brand Position
Social media and technology go hand in hand, creating numerous potential opportunities for breaches resulting from the over-sharing of information. With nearly all social media users carrying phones in their pockets, the corporate security implications are wide-reaching for multiple business units.
Public figures are newsworthy, and fans often try to get photos when spotting them out on the town. With the tap of a button, the information is pushed out to followers, who then share with their followers, and on it goes. While the intent may be innocent, a photo capturing the tail number and destination of a plane, or an executive entering a hotel, could put your principal at risk. On a more sinister level, social media is being used to make public threats against companies and individuals. If you’re the close protection team in the field, how important is it to know immediately that your principal’s location is now public knowledge?
Intellectual Property Protection
Original content production, in the form of everything from movie scripts to engineering plans, is the very foundation of business growth. When investing in the development of new products, that intellectual property must be adequately protected from public disclosure, or risk endangering its ultimate value. Since social media is used to widely disseminate protected information, content protection teams understand that they must have a social media strategy capable of detecting leaked information in real-time.
Supply Chain Logistic Protection
A shortage of resources or a shipping delay can be quite expensive for supply chain management. For example, if a shipment of goods in transit along a major highway encounters an accident that closes the roadway and forces the transport to take a longer alternative route, production schedules would be negatively impacted, costing time and money. Timely awareness of the event allows for an earlier re-route. Social media can help you gain visibility into such highly specific areas of interest, unlike news typically surfaced through traditional information streams.
Social media exposes companies to new reputational risks, as millions of customers have an instant sounding board to lodge public complaints. Typically, the public relations or customer support teams are tasked with being the fast, first responders. Comprehensive monitoring to gain early insight into unfavorable situations allows companies the ability to get ahead of and contain public outcry. For example, if the public has an unfavorable response to a company’s new ad campaign, that criticism will appear on social media. Real-time identification of the issue will allow the company to adjust course and respond accordingly.
Minimizing the Impact
The main function of corporate security is to keep an organization, its people and its products safe from harm. Dataminr removes a blindfold, allowing unprecedented insight into a vast information source through manageable and customizable real-time alerts, arming you with the information you need to evade and rapidly respond to an impending crisis.